Should we adopt COVID-19 “immunity passports”?

By Victoria Min-Yi Wang. The COVID-19 pandemic has led the UK to impose lockdown measures that have reduced personal freedoms normally taken for granted in a liberal democracy. This loss of freedoms has been justified because it protects people from contracting COVID-19 and, consequently, prevents overwhelming the NHS. After a year of lockdown measures, and […]

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The vicious circle of precaution

By Ezio Di Nucci. The precautionary principle has been implicitly utilized and explicitly invoked in March of 2020 when many governments introduced restrictions and lockdowns to contain COVID-19. ‘Implicitly utilized’ because the preliminary evidence and modelling those restrictions were based on was a good example of the kinds of problems the precautionary principle is meant […]

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Valuing the care in healthcare: priorities and trade-offs

By Jonathan Michaels. Healthcare decisions are complex, whether we are considering individual choices about our own health, or policy decisions made by political or professional bodies.  Disease and the actions taken to prevent, diagnose and treat it, may have widespread ramifications on all aspects of our lives.  Furthermore, policy and personal decisions in other aspects […]

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Lateral flow tests and schools: Why the government’s approach is ethically flawed

By Jonathan Pugh, Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu. The UK government has put lateral flow antigen tests (LFATs) at the forefront of its strategy to re-open schools. These tests can be used to detect current infections, and they can provide results quickly at the point of care. The tests themselves also have a low financial […]

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You’ve got to be in it to win it: The promise and practice of vaccine lotteries

By Jane Williams, Chris Degeling, Angus Dawson, Stacy Carter Following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic there was a small explosion in the ethics literature on how to allocate scarce pandemic vaccine. There were many different suggestions about how we should distribute vaccine in an ethical way. One proposal was that a random allocation through a lottery, weighted […]

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Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, BAME Communities, and Racial Injustice

By Aileen Editha The COVID-19 pandemic impacted England (and the world) in ways that no one could have imagined. One that is incredibly disappointing, however, is the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in terms of exposure and mortality rates, as well as the recent data on vaccination […]

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Is it irrational not to have a plan? Should there have been national guidance on rationing in the NHS?

By Dominic Wilkinson and Jonathan Pugh. Last April, in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of academics, lawyers, doctors and ethicists wrote publicly about the need for national ethical guidance relating to resource allocation (e.g., see here, here, here). At the time there was concern that there would be insufficient intensive care […]

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Discrimination on the basis of vaccination status (is inherently wrong)

By Michael Kowalik. The worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2 has re-invigorated the debate about the ethical permissibility of vaccine mandates and immunity certification. Public attitudes towards this complex issue are nevertheless dominated by fear, half-truths and ungrounded value-judgements, limiting the scope of rational deliberation in favour of ideological partisanship. My paper, ‘Ethics of Vaccine Refusal’, is […]

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Self-experimentation with vaccines

By Jonathan Pugh, Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu. A group of citizen scientists has launched a non-profit, non-commercial organisation named ‘RaDVaC’, which aims to rapidly develop, produce, and self-administer an intranasally delivered COVID-19 vaccine. As an open source project, a white paper detailing RaDVaC’s vaccine rationale, design, materials, protocols, and testing is freely available online. […]

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How to ethically conduct research with Black populations at the intersection of COVID-19 and Black lives matter

By Natasha Crooks, Geri Donenberg, Alicia Matthews. For months now, we have been asking ourselves if it is appropriate to engage populations in research who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and continuously being murdered by institutions (i.e., government, police, hospitals) that are supposed to be protecting them. The current societal context suggests Black lives are […]

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